Getting the Best Lighting

Light is important to your film. Without light, your audience won’t be able to see your actors. Light can also be used to help create the mood of your shots or to affect the feelings and emotions of your audience.

Video cameras need light more than our eyes do. Our eyes are sensitive to light and can adjust to light and dark very quickly. If you walk from a dark room into the sunshine outside, for example, your eyes usually adjust to the change in light so quickly you don’t notice. Cameras also have a feature that adjusts to different light, but it’s not as good as the one in our eyes. This is why most film productions use extra lights to help light the actors.

In blockbuster films, crews use very powerful lights to act as sunlight or moonlight because natural light can be unpredictable and unreliable. Natural light would make scenes shot over the course of a few days look inconsistently lit, with, say, bright sunshine on the first day of filming and overcast light on the next. Even when a scene is shot indoors, TV and film crews will build their sets inside a studio and place lights outside the window to simulate sunlight or moonlight.

In mainstream films, lighting technicians and gaffers are responsible for designing and setting up the lighting for each scene. They work with the director and the camera operator to determine where and how much lighting is needed for a scene.

There are many different types and strengths of lights available to ...

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